Maryam Wahid (b.1995) is a British Pakistani photographer from Birmingham. Her practice focusses on her identity as a British South Asian Muslim Woman. She uses photography to express the origins of the Pakistani community in Birmingham by exploring her deeply rooted family history and the mass integration of migrants within the United Kingdom.
Different but Together showcases a selection of portraits of women in Pakistan today. It champions the cultural identity intertwined in a Pakistani woman and the transitioning of her through time and place. This exhibition also displays Women from the Pakistani Diaspora, a series of self-portraits composed in Birmingham that explores the identity of Maryam’s mother as an 18 year old woman of Pakistani origin who emigrated to the United Kingdom.
Maryam depicts these images by showcasing outfits that were worn by her mother over 35 years ago and by visiting the places that were significant to her mother’s life as a young migrant woman in Britain. Pakistani women provided a crucial envelopment of familiarity and comfort that gave their husbands, fathers, children and grandchildren a sense of their place of origin – making it a home away from home. Maryam’s self-portrait collection seeks to recognise the existence and achievements of such Pakistani women and their role as the backbone of a community that transformed inner-city Britain.
In the other selected portraits of women, Maryam connects the emotional and nostalgic feeling attached to her heritage in her country of origin with women from all ages and features. These women take ownership of their lives and their individuality by embracing their identity and overcoming the challenges presented by complex gender roles.